American Pilgrims is echoing official advice from numerous sources to postpone all international travel. We will continue to pass along news from the official and authoritative sources listed below. We recommend you stay up to date on the virus using official and reliable sources for information. Keep in mind there is a lot of misinformation, speculation and inaccuracies on the internet. Use your best judgment. International travel is not advised.

As the situation in Spain is in rapid flux, we suggest El País in English for up-to-date general news.

Of particular relevance to those contemplating going to Spain later in 2020, provisions for international arrivals into Spain are a work-in-progress. You’ll have to examine various sources below to see what is current at any given time. In particular, deadlines have been set and extended several times for opening the country to the outside.

American Pilgrims local chapters are following applicable state and local public health recommendations and requirements concerning chapter events. We encourage everyone to abide by these restrictions.

On March 19th, the U.S. Department of State issued a global level 4 health advisory: “Avoid all international travel”:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

On April 28th, the Spanish Prime Minister announced the government’s plans to start the deescalation of coronavirus confinement measures in Spain. There will be four phases, but with no set transition dates so as to be flexible according to the situation. These steps would be applied independently to various regions so different regions will be in different phases. Briefly, highlights of the phases are:
• Phase 0 will begin on May 4, and will involve the restricted reopening of small businesses such as restaurants that can offer food to take away, and places that can take bookings.
• Phase 1 would allow the partial reopening of small businesses under strict safety measures, but not large shopping malls. This would include hotels and tourist apartments, not including common areas. There will be capacity restrictions imposed. Travel between provinces would still be restricted.
• Phase 2 will apply to schools which will open in September. Also covered would be public gatherings such as sporting and cultural events and theaters. All of those would have capacity restrictions imposed.
• Phase 3 will be a general loosening of capacity restrictions in place.
• Following that sequence is a general return to normality. Movement between provinces would once again be allowed.

The map of the present recovery phases in Spain can be found here. (This is not an “official” source but it links to official sources. The latter keep changing their URLs and so are hard to keep up to date.):
https://ohmygoodguide.com/spain-reopening-plan-coronavirus-lockdown-easing/

The articles in El País:
El País, April 28th
• Spain’s prime minister announces coronavirus deescalation measures
Spanish government will avoid setting dates for deescalation measures

On May 25th El País reported “Spain will lift two-week coronavirus quarantine for overseas arrivals from July 1 .” These are policies in flux and each reader is advised to seek current news on that situation.

The Spanish government in conjunction with the Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality has issued requirements for ALL albergues in Spain. The term “albergue” refers to “hostel” style facilities, not only such on the Camino. There is no  differentiation between commercial establishments and municipal or donativo albergues. As you will see, these recommendations involve changes drastically different from the albergue experience of the past.
Hostels on the Camino: Health Recommendations
Hostels on the Camino: Sanitary Recommendations

The U.S. State Department’s COVID-19 Travel Alert page: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province–china.html

U.S. Department of State country by country information:
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html

Some official and reliable sources:
• https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus
•  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
• The World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
• The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china

Spain-specific information sources:
• The Spanish Health System is posting timely announcements in their Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/SaludPublicaEs
• The Spanish Ministry of Health (Spanish):
https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov-China/home.htm
https://www.mscbs.gob.es/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov-China/situacionActual.htm
• Status of COVID-19 in Spain, including regional details (Spanish):
https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/50d6c4c5599a43f4bebf517daa3a97b6
• El Camino con Correos has posted helpful information on their blog: https://www.elcaminoconcorreos.com/en/blog/camino-de-santiago-and-covid-19
El País in English for general news.

The U.S. Embassy in Spain: https://es.usembassy.gov and then search “coronavirus”.

We suggest doing a general search (e.g., Google) using the keywords <spain coronavirus> and in the result, choosing official and reliable sources.

The WHO recommends following these basic protective measures against the new coronavirus: wash your hands, maintain social distance, wear a mask as is appropriate and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Stay informed to make informed decisions.

This is obviously a story that is developing daily, if not hourly. Stay informed and make informed decisions. Refrain from forwarding unreliably sourced information. Wash your hands – thoroughly and often!

05/21/20

NIAID-RML image of coronavirus
Photo credit: NIAID-RM